Cxemcast 032 – John Object
Who is John Object?
This is one of my aliases, the main one at the moment, actually. I don’t invent characters or personalities for my aliases, but most of them have their own sound standards. John Object is the freest from restrictions in sound and concept.
You probably get inspiration from the postinternet music wave, don't you?
I wouldn’t agree. My definition of postinternet art space is quite blurry, and I’m not sure I’m familiar enough with it to speak of it properly; perhaps it can be seen from the outside. My conditional sources of inspiration rather lay in the individual elements that make up a work: the sound of synthesizers, combinations of instruments (usually their synthetic copies); colors, fonts, geometric compositions, and so on. While working on sound, image or video, I think and operate with these components. At the stage when I select pieces for work, I barely think about the overall aesthetics of the final product. The interaction of certain instruments and sounds often causes an unpredictable emotional response, which is different for me and for the audience. I feel that many elements of this “postinternet” conditional construct resonate with me, but only because of my personal associations with certain sounds and visual techniques. I don’t think that my objectives are the same when I operate with them.
So when you start working on a track you cannot predict the final result?
Exactly, I can’t predict its emotional content. I start with attempts to combine multiple timbres that can sound fresh together, as I imagine, but without thinking about melodies. Lately, I’ve even started to write down ideas for combinations of sounds in a notebook and on random pieces of paper. I’ve already gathered enough material for an album or two.
What musicians inspire you then?
Frankly speaking, I'm a big fan of 80–90s synthetic R&B and soul, especially of artists that are not very famous. I love the obvious synth presets of those times. I’m amused with the idea of Milli Vanilli band, when the guys from the album cover had absolutely nothing to do with music: they didn’t sing, play or write songs on “their” record. Of course, my source of inspiration in Milli Vanilli is those musicians and producers who planned all this and preferred to stay out of the spotlight while making an impressive product for that time. So far, I have no idea who they are and I’m very amused by the contrast between the emotional content of the songs and the musicians’ anonymity. I imagine them as a group of pale-faced guys with long hair, wearing thin glasses and gray shirts. And the guys on the cover are very handsome indeed. I like to get Milli Vanilli’s record from the shelf and look at them while someone else’s music, which is somehow also theirs, is playing.
What do you use for writing tracks?
Speaking of hardware, I use Oberheim OB-12, Moog Rogue, Korg microKORG XL, and Elektronika EM-25. Speaking of software, it’s Ableton Live and Max. Most of the songs start with a synthesizer sketch — it is so much easier to work with a melody or create the appropriate tone in this way. However, the initial parts are then either replaced by plugins, or become unnecessary and get overwritten. I have no prejudice in terms of comparing the sound of software and synthesizers, but I enjoy the process of playing and synthesizing. Creating music turned into a kind of job for me a long time ago, and playing synthesizers still remain just fun, so I usually separate it.
For how long have you been making music?
I started only in 2010, therefore I have no releases yet. For the last few years, due to the inability to focus on one thing, I am simultaneously working on five albums in different styles, so the process is moving slowly. However, the most difficult phase is over, and I think that they will be finished soon. Perhaps I will have a dubious opportunity to release five albums in a row with one-month intervals. Of course, I'll try avoiding this kind of nonsense. However, it could be fun. I usually play twice a year with different material: when it’s hot and when it’s cold. This year, it was three times so far: I’ve been to Lviv taking part in the art cluster R + N + D show, and somehow found myself there again just a few months later. It was a grueling year, I think I need to take a break from concerts and spend the next few years in the studio.
What kind of live performance are you preparing for the New Year's Cxema?
35 minutes. That’s all I can say.
Interviewed by Bohdan Konakov.